Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Good Opportunity to Catch Up On Your Sleep

Hugo would clearly be more fun to watch in a theater, but even that would not make it a better movie. There is not a whole lot going on in Hugo, other than some forced action sequences that seem to be director Martin Scorsese's attempt to please a young audience, and that is a shame because of the fact that Hugo is so visually appealing.

Hugo is essentially an appreciation of a motion picture pioneer by one of the greatest filmmakers of this generation. I would have preferred a documentary about Georges Méliès rather than this history lesson wrapped in childish drivel.

The film tells the story of young Hugo Cabret, an orphan in 1930s Paris, who is searching for answers to a mystery left behind by his father. And since this is a movie, many obstacles impede his search. The first obstacle is that the magic shop owner, who happens to be Méliès, hoards Hugo's notebook as punishment for his thievery.

The plot does not propel the film forward and unfortunately the performances do not help. As Hugo, Asa Butterfield does a passable but unremarkable job playing the young French boy. Chloe Grace Moretz, as his partner in crime Isabelle, seems to be attempting to mimic a showing of Masterpiece Theater wherein the European children are always witty and cultured but still innocent in the face of misfortune. Ben Kingsley does a fine job as the brooding Méliès, but then again, Kingsley could play a part like that in his sleep.

Other than the fact that the film was directed by Scorsese, there is no reason that the Academy would even look at Hugo as a best picture nominee. Honestly, the movie put me to sleep. 'Nuff said.

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